Thursday, February 22, 2024

Waikura Station’s on-farm sale a success

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‘Really well-bred coastal lambs, bright and healthy’ meet a lot of interest.
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One of New Zealand’s most remote hill country stations, Waikura in Gisborne, held its first on-farm sale to include both cattle and sheep on Tuesday December 12.

The sale was the last of the North Island on-farm sales initiated by Hazlett for 2023 and was well attended by a crowd of discerning buyers, rounding out a successful season for the company’s North Island campaign.  

A total of 3893 mixed-sex lambs, 6757 wether lambs, 634 ewes and 333 cattle were put up for auction and, at sale-end, transported throughout the North Island. The lambs were trucked from their original home in the Waikura Valley, 50km inland of East Cape, to as far as Levin and South Auckland. 

The sale took place in ideal conditions – blue skies and warm sun brought some shine to the coats of the cattle, which were first to be put up for auction. 

On a station that is proud of its dedication to improvements in herd genetics, the sale featured superb Angus and Angus-Hereford cattle, bred from bulls by Waiterenui and Hallmark studs. The favourable growing season also added a layer of condition to these lines, which ultimately lifted their value. 

Thirty-four Angus-Hereford cows with calves at foot sired by an Angus bull were sold as cow and calf units and made $1600. A draft of 66 autumn-born yearling Angus steers were farm-weighed at 316kg and returned a per head price of $1120, $3.55/kg. 

The top three cuts of straight-bred Angus heifers weighed 308-350kg and made $3.23-$3.28/kg while the Angus-Hereford heifers weighed 278kg and fetched $3.11/kg. One line of 13 off-bred heifers weighed 321kg and returned $2.43/kg. 

The first cut of lambs sold was a line of 747 blackface Suftex mixed-sex lambs, docked and ready to go. These lambs weren’t weighed but sold for $114 per head. Both vendor and purchaser were pleased with this result. 

The second cut of 448 blackface Suftex mixed-sex lambs made $95 while the next five cuts ranged in tally size from 472 to 1806 head and returned $57-$79. 

The Romdale wether lambs on offer had a lot of frame and were just as bright and healthy as the mixed-sex lines. They were very well-presented under covered yards and returned a great result. 

The top cut of 656 Romdale wethers made $75. The next four cuts sold in much bigger lines ranging from 1041 to 1238 head. The second cut of 1238 wethers returned $70 while the following three made $55-$60. 

Hazlett agent Richard Johnston said the quality of the lambs would enhance interest in   future on-farm sales in the North Island. 

“These are really well-bred, coastal lambs that are bright and healthy and met a lot of interest. The buyers are very pleased with their purchases and we will most likely see an even bigger crowd of potential buyers return next year.” 

Johnston also highlighted the success of the sale from the perspective of the vendors.

“These on-farm sales are starting to gain a lot of traction in the North Island for the animal health benefits that come with being auctioned off on farm. As the market gets tighter it is becoming valuable for sellers to be able to avoid the unknown of the saleyards and make use of the savings in the absence of the associated fees.”

The sale at Waikura Station also included an offering of 634 cull ewes. Considering the stickiness of the current ewe market these ewes returned a satisfactory result. The first cut of 409 ewes made $57 per head while the second cut of 225 returned $45. 

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